Stop press: Audience, not medium, is the key to PR success


Everyone knows the media has changed beyond recognition in the last decade, with new platforms on the rise, displacing the old guard. So why is it so many business owners are still obsessed with traditional coverage?
Of course I’m not saying major broadsheet exposure isn’t worth working for, but when many of the most read and most influential outlets in the world aren’t on paper, it’s important for chief executives to take their eyes off the page, and consider all the available options for exposure.
Yahoo’s relocation to the old New York Times building is poignant within this context. Similarly significant, albeit in a very different area of the industry, is the recent Kevin Spacey fronted series House of Cards, produced for and shown exclusively on Netflix.
A new media giant steps directly into the footprint of a predecessor, which whilst remaining one of America’s top newspapers has still seen its circulation slip. Meanwhile, another online content business- the streaming service- bags a major series as an exclusive, scoring serious points over traditional broadcasters, which can now be seen as direct rivals.
Far from stating the obvious, my point isn’t that we need to think ‘out with the old and in with the new’. If only things were that simple. Instead, marketing and public relations efforts must be based on intelligent analysis and assessment of the most suitable audience for a specific brand’s story, and where they can be found. It’s common sense, but nevertheless this logic is often overlooked by the overzealous.
For PR success, the value of digital in any form must be set in relation to the audience you’re trying to influence, and where the stakeholders of the company you’re protecting go looking for their content. Or, perhaps more likely, where the content that comes to them originates from. After all, if you develop coherent and consistent messages, based on a strong corporate identity, it’s pointless to start sharing those ideas in the wrong places.